Hodge v. US Security Associates, Inc. – 16.91

Hodge v. US Security Associates, Inc.
Digest No. 16.91

Section 421.29; Section 421.38

Cite as: Hodge v US Security Associates, Inc., unpublished opinion of the Mich. Sup. Ct., issued February 6, 2015 (Docket No. 149984).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Carnice Hodge
Employer: U.S. Security Associates, Inc.
Date of decision: February 6, 2015

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HOLDING: A reviewing court is not at liberty to substitute its own judgment for a decision of MCAC that is supported with substantial evidence.

FACTS: Claimant was a security guard at an airport. Claimant was fired for accessing publicly available flight departure information on a computer at the request of a traveler in violation of the employer’s policy regarding the unauthorized use of computer equipment. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) disqualified claimant from unemployment benefits for committing misconduct under Section 421.29. The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) affirmed, holding that the decision was made in conformity with the facts as developed at the hearing and properly applied the law to the facts. The Wayne Circuit Court reversed, concluding that claimant’s conduct did not warrant a denial of benefits because claimant was violating the employer’s policy in order to help a customer, and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the Wayne Circuit Court’s reversal.

DECISION: The Court of Appeals judgment is reversed and the MCAC judgment is reinstated.

RATIONALE: The Wayne Circuit Court and the Court of Appeals applied an incorrect standard of review by substituting their own assessment of the relative severity of claimant’s violation of her employer’s rules for the assessment of MCAC. A reviewing court is not at liberty to substitute its own judgment for a decision of MCAC that is supported with substantial evidence. A circuit court must affirm a decision of the ALJ and MCAC if it conforms to law and if competent, material, and substantial evidence supports it. The ALJ was the only adjudicator who actually heard testimony and observed the demeanor of the witnesses while testifying, reviewed all the evidence in the record, and made findings of fact based on credibility of witnesses and weight of the evidence. MCAC’s assessment of claimant’s conduct was made within the correct legal framework and was therefore authorized by law and not contrary to law, so the courts below improperly reweighed the evidence in order to reach a different assessment in violation of Section 421.38 and Const. 1963, art 6, § 28.

Digest author: Winnie Chen, Michigan Law, Class of 2017

Digest updated: 11/19/2017

Miller v Hoffmaster Farms – 10.28

Miller v Hoffmaster Farms
Digest no. 10.28

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Miller v Hoffmaster Farms, unpublished opinion of the Allegan County Circuit Court, issued January 11, 1980 (Docket No. 79-1282 AV).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: L. Scott Miller
Employer: Hoffmaster Farms
Docket no.: EB76 17267 55335
Date of decision: January 11, 1980

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: (1) An individual who leaves a non-liable employing unit to accept work with a liable employer is disqualified for voluntary leaving. (2) A disqualification is not made moot by a claimant’s subsequent receipt of the maximum benefit entitlement.

FACTS: The claimant tended a dairy herd, on a part-time basis, for a non-liable agricultural employing unit. He was disqualified for leaving to accept full-time work with a liable employer, but subsequently received benefits for the maximum number of weeks.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “While another party, one actually deprived of benefits, may have better standing to present the issue involved in this case, the claimant should be entitled to a circuit court review of the record … “.

“[A]n employing unit can be composed of agricultural labor, but such a unit, at least during the period that appellant worked for Hoffmaster Farms, cannot be subject to the terms of MCLA 421.41; MSA 17.543 defining ’employer.'”

“It should be pointed out that MCLA 421.29 (5); MSA 17.531 (5) waives the disqualification period when an individual leaves an employer, even though working part-time, to take a full-time job with another employer. Presumably, because not all employing units are employers, this waiver is not extended to those individuals who leave an employing unit to take a job with an employer.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 11/90